Washington, DC – In response to the ruling by Libya’s highest court upholding the death sentences of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor accused of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the virus that causes AIDS, and to the assurances by Gadhafi International Foundation for Charity Associations that it was brokering an agreement with the children’s families to resolve the case, Chairman Tom Lantos of the House Foreign Affairs Committee released the following statement:
“Having followed this matter closely for several years and expressed my concern repeatedly to the government in Tripoli, I am encouraged that there may be a satisfactory outcome in the case of these six innocent individuals. I am hopeful that Libya’s Supreme Judicial Council will grant clemency to the medics at its scheduled session next week. The Gadhafi Foundation’s announcement of an agreement with the families, though we do not yet know all the details, reinforces this hope. A favorable ruling would certainly improve prospects for U.S.-Libyan relations, as well as Libya’s standing in the world. “
Lantos, the founding co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, is the leading figure in the U.S. Congress promoting improved relations between Washington and Tripoli. He has visited Libya and met with Colonel Moammar Gadhafi six times since the Libyan leader announced in December 2003 that he was dismantling his country’s nuclear weapons program. As progress on this matter and other issues has continued, Lantos has urged full normalization of ties between Libya and the United States.